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FIRST HALF OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY   371

exercise." From ten to fifteen, they will instruct their juniors,
and learn the arts and handicrafts and the mechanical sciences.
Finally, from fifteen to twenty, they will teach the children next
below them, and become " active producers on their own account.'5
The only practical outcome of Owen's fine schemes was the general
acceptance of the Infant School as a part of the educational
system of the country, as a result of the exertions of Samuel
Wilderspin in England and David Stow in Scotland.

Apart from politicians and sectaries, the most uncompromising
opponent of national education under the central government
was Herbert^ Spencer (i 82^1^03^ From his father, who was a
teacher like Jus ™grandfather andhis uncles, Spencer acquired an
aggressive nonconformist mind, which made him distrust State
action in any form beyond the narrowest limits. It was this that
led him to the view that education is essentially a matter of in-
dividual concern and that any attempt made by the State to control
and direct education must inevitably do harm. This view under-
lies both his discussion of National Education in Social Statics
(1851) and his famous four Essays on Education (1861). The
question as to " What knowledge is of most worth," which is
raised in the first of the Essays, is only understood when expanded
into the form: "What knowledge is of most worth for the
individual ? *' Spencer"asserts jEEe^^

preparation for Complete living. Going on the assumption that
tHe individual interests and the social interests are in some sense
antagonistic and that the most individual interests are of first
consequence, he puts the sciences that relate to individual health
and well-being at the top of the scale of worthy knowledge, and
literature and the arts which represent the social factors in edu-
cation at the bottom. The significance of the discussion is some-
what disguised, however, by the general answer he gives to the
question about the relative worth of the different forms of know-
ledge. ^His opposition to the literary traditions of the schools
leads him to compare a scientific education (such as he himself
had received) with the ordinary literary education, and to decide
that the knowledge of greatest value in every way is science.
What he really means to assert is the superiority of the knowledge
which the individual can verify for himself and use to solve the
problems of his own life, as compared with the knowledge which
rests on tradition and makes no direct call on personal judgment,